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Spacecraft

The first night-time flight of the Morpheus lander (Image: NASA)

Spacecraft lifting off at night are a beautiful sight, but equally impressive is when one lands in the dark under its own power. NASA’s robotic Morpheus prototype planetary lander did both of those in its first night-time free flight at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which included an autonomous landing in an artificial lunar landscape.  Read More

The Dragon V2 was unveiled at a brief media event

Having teased the public by showing off the SuperDraco engine, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk takes the wraps off the Dragon V2 manned spacecraft that it’s designed to propel. In a brief media event at SpaceX’s Hawthorne, California headquarters, Musk introduced the larger, more powerful version of the reusable Dragon capsule, which will one day carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and return to Earth to land under its own power.  Read More

The SuperDraco engine test firing

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft is set for an upgrade with the company announcing the successful qualification testing of its SuperDraco rocket engine. Designed to replace the Draco engines used for attitude control on the Dragon orbital spacecraft, the SuperDraco will act as the Dragon’s launch emergency escape system, as well as giving it the ability to make a powered landing on Earth and other worlds.  Read More

Artist's Impression of Cassini passing near Titan (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Data collected from observations recorded by NASA's Cassini mission has been used to propose ways to better understand the atmospheres of exoplanets. By studying the light of sunsets on Saturn’s satellite, Titan, scientists have shown how spectra are subtly altered when passing through a hazy atmosphere, thereby giving a greater insight into interpreting the spectral readings of the atmosphere of these distant worlds.  Read More

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, shown here on a test flight, will be fueled by a thermoset...

As the still-to-be-announced date of the first commercial flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo approaches, more and more of the technology involved is getting nailed down. A case in point is the company's announcement that it has decided which fuel will be used in the first passenger-carrying flights of the suborbital spacecraft. The solid fuel grains that will fuel the world’s largest operational hybrid rocket will be a thermoset plastic similar to nylon.  Read More

NASA’s Rodent Habitat module (Image: NASA/Dominic Hart)

Attention space rats and astromice, NASA is sending new, posher rodent habitats to the International Space Station (ISS). The high-tech cages will first will fly in August aboard an unmanned SpaceX Dragon cargo ship and are part of an extensive study on the effects of weightlessness on prolonged space voyages.  Read More

Artist's concept of the InSight Lander (Image: NASA)

Another Mars mission is on its way to the pad with NASA and its consortium of partners from Europe and Japan getting the green light for construction of the InSight Mars lander, which is slated for launch in 2016.  Read More

The Dragon CRS-3 spacecraft connected to the ISS via the Canadarm2 robotic arm (Photo: NAS...

Space X's Dragon spacecraft has splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean at 3:05 PM EDT on May 18, laden with many scientific experiments ripe for further analysis on Earth. It landed safely 300 miles off the coast of California, pending retrieval and transportation back to the SpaceX McGregor test facility in Texas.  Read More

An artist's impression of Venus Express (Image: ESA)

After eight years of study of the second planet in our Solar System, ESA’s Venus Express orbiter is winding up its science program in anticipation of a plunge into the Venusian atmosphere sometime in the next two months.  Read More

Pocari Sweat plans to land the first commercial sports drink on the Moon in the form of a ...

Lunar exploration may be an exciting adventure in the conquest of space, but what if you get thirsty? Pocari Sweat is a Japanese sports drink that’s popular in Asia and the Middle East, and as part of its marketing strategy it plans to deliver a can of its product to the lunar surface next year.  Read More

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